Memorization and jazz improvisation

I received an email this morning from a classical pianist eager to improve her jazz skills. Her question involves memorization, which she considers her ‘weakest area’.

Fun with drone tracks

I enjoy crafting harmony tracks with which to practice. They are not usually jazz, but instead are more ethereal. Here’s one I like because the harmony slowly becomes more complex and ear-stretching.

Hearing and improving your time and rhythm

A jazz musician’s sense of time is one of if not the most important defining aspect of his or her playing. As a soloist, you can play “wrong” notes with a good time feel, and it will sound much better than “right” notes with a poor sense of time.

Bobby Shew on proper breathing for brass players

Bobby Shew is a well-known trumpet great. What people may not know is that he is also a world-class teacher. I had an opportunity to sit down with Bobby and ask him questions for close to three hours. We covered a lot of topics, but the nearest and dearest to his heart was on his method for breathing called the Wedge Method.

Ron Carter on how he’s practicing right now

I interviewed Ron Carter yesterday for the next Jazz Master Summit. He was gracious and full of insight. We spoke on a variety of topics, not the least of which was that second Miles quintet and how they did what they did on stage as well as their preparation for recordings.

How to use Jazz Patterns for Ear

Ever since the Jazz Master Summit, a lot more people are using Jazz Patterns for Ear. Because it is such a different book, people have been asking a lot of questions regarding how it works. This book/method is the polar opposite of any pattern book you’ve seen. The patterns are NOT designed to be memorized and played in solos. Ever.

Putting the fun back into practicing

This morning I asked subscribers to suggest questions that I could ask Jim Pugh and Bob McChesney since I will be interviewing each of them within the next few days. I am creating a week-long event consisting of interviews with great players and teachers. I’ll be sharing more of this as the date for the event nears.

How to most effectively practice your musical instrument

I received an email from a subscriber asking an excellent question. He asks how he can optimize his time in the three hours per day he dedicates to practicing. Is it better to have fewer things to work on and spend more time on those, or to practice on more things and extend the total practice time per day.